There's a lot of talk lately about the Great Resignation; current high levels of turnover are being chalked up, in part, to workers wanting more flexibility after performing their jobs remotely for the last year or feeling better opportunities await them as employers struggle to find the employees they desperately need. In the tech sector, a company's lack of diversity and inclusiveness also prompts workers to quit, especially younger workers, according to a new report.
More than two-thirds of U.S. employers think their workforces lack diversity, but many are unsure how to correct that, according to Diversity In Tech from mThree, a brand of academic publisher Wiley.
Half of 18- to 28-year-old workers left or wanted to leave their tech or IT jobs because "company culture made them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable," the report said.
Percentages were higher among minority groups—53 percent of Asian and female respondents reported having left or wanting to leave, as did 56 percent of Black respondents and 58 percent of Hispanic or Latino respondents. Additionally, 68 percent of 18- to 28-year-old workers said they have felt uncomfortable in a job because of their gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background or neurodevelopmental condition.
The results are from a survey of 2,030 people ages 18 to 28 and 270 business leaders.
The business leaders reported the following observations:
- 68 percent said their workforces lack diversity.
- 22 percent said they do not know how to change things.
- 51 percent said they struggle to recruit diverse candidates for entry-level tech positions.
- 51 percent said they had diversity targets.
- 11 percent said they do not have a diversity and inclusion strategy in place.
- 45 percent said their businesses have not invested in anti-bias training for hiring managers.
The report recommended the following actions for employers looking to increase diversity in their workforces:
- Bridge the gap between college and career by partnering with less well-known colleges and attending a greater number of university job fairs.
- Give more attention to hiring events aimed at candidates who do not have a college degree.
- Offer mentorship programs for entry-level employees to support personal and professional development.
- Prioritize and invest in unconscious-bias training.
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One Reason for the Tech Industry's Great Resignation: Lack of Diversity
The tech industry has been facing increasing scrutiny over diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) issues in recent years, especially after 2020's racial justice protests, when many companies promised to do more to support and recruit Black employees.
A survey from educational publisher Wiley finds failure to fix equity and inclusion issues can make tech workers unhappy and even drive them out the door.
A Fast Company survey of 42 top tech companies found they committed nearly $4 billion to DE&I efforts after last summer's protests. But many tech companies have continued to face criticism and allegations of racism and misogyny.
Black Tech Employees Rebel Against 'Diversity Theater'
Companies pledged money and support for people of color. But some say these individuals still face a hostile work environment for speaking out or simply doing their jobs.
Are You Keeping Your DE&I Commitments?
Some employers are frustrated with the lack of progress in their DE&I initiatives, said AmyJo Mattheis, founder and chief executive officer of Pavo Navigation Coaching in the San Francisco Bay area.
"What's happened is a lot of companies have invested money in making all kinds of training videos [such as] microaggression training and allyship training and all these different little areas that aren't unimportant but [that] have people sitting at their computers and then they turn them off and go, 'OK, now what?' We're not … consistently and actively teaching and training our people" on what inclusion looks like.
For Younger Job Seekers, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Aren't a Preference. They're a Requirement.
Over the past decade, highly educated young professionals have increasingly prioritized personal values in deciding where to work, whether it's a commitment to sustainability, philanthropy or social impact.
Millennial and Generation Z professionals are avoiding companies without a diverse workforce, clear promotion traffic and a commitment to confronting systemic racism in their ranks. They want to work for employers committed to hiring a more diverse workforce, helping employees of color advance through the ranks, giving them more decision-making power and facilitating uncomfortable conversations about systemic racism.
How Top Tech Companies Are Addressing Diversity and Inclusion
Black Lives Matter protests have spurred many organizations to reassess equity and diversity in their respective industries. Here's how five tech giants—and one small standout—have responded to calls for improved inclusion in tech.